A Simple Running Log

June 13, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 9:39 am

He did it! Clark finished the IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlon yesterday. It was hot and windy but he swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 and ran 13.1, and I could not be prouder of him.

But before we went to Cambridge on Saturday for that, I had the Blue Gold All-Star 5K in Lewes that morning, my first 5K of the Seashore Striders summer series.

TK met me at my house at 6:30 for the drive to Lewes. By the time we got our bibs and event shirts, I only had time for a short half-mile warm-up before the start. Better than nothing.

I got in the starting pack, we got the commands and took off.

2016 blue gold all star 5k start

I felt OK for the first mile, which I ran in 7:10. I was hoping to maintain my pace the way I had in the 5K the week before, but alas, it was not to be. I fell off in the final two miles — 7:21 and 7:28. My legs felt trashed for some reason. I finished a few seconds slower than I did in the 5K last weekend, in 22:53.

2016 blue gold all star 5k finish

At the finish.

Since I’d run such a short warm up, and I wouldn’t be running anything the next day, I did a longer cool down, 2.4 miles, so I could make my mileage for the day an even 6.

TK and I exchanged our running shoes for our flip flops and were walking to the post-race party at Irish Eyes when Fredman got this picture of us:

tk and me after the 2016 blue gold all star 5k

Yes, I am applying my fifth coat of ChapStick of the day haha.

When they posted the results, I was first of 11 in the F 30-34 age group, seventh of 114 female runners and 33rd of 211 total runners.


Two of the top three in the F 30-34 age group.

When the post-race party wrapped up, TK and I got iced coffees and headed home. I got my stuff packed up and helped Clark get all his gear together for Eagleman. We loaded up the truck and headed off to Cambridge.

The expo was at Sailwinds Park. Packet pick-up was a multi-step process inside a large warehouse-type building with no air conditioning. It’d gotten hot in there by the time we arrived in the middle of the afternoon.

Clark signed some waivers and got his wristband, ankle strap with timing chip, swim cap (color coded by age group), run bib, stickers for his bike frame and equipment, event T-shirt and sling bag. I noticed some people put the ankle strap on as soon as they got it.

We had some time to kill while waiting for the 4 p.m. athlete briefing.

eagleman sign

marathons are cute

Let the shit-talking begin haha.

During the briefing, they went over pretty much all the info that was in the 27-page athlete guide Clark had printed out when he registered. It went on for 45 minutes. It sounded very complicated, especially the bike — there were very specific rules for how to pass, which could result in a time penalty if broken.

The next stop was Great Marsh Park, to check in Clark’s bike into the transition zone. We estimated there was about $5 million worth of bikes out there Saturday night. The park is heavily secured overnight now, but TK’s mom was saying yesterday there didn’t used to be much security, and people’s bikes would go missing. I’d be pretty pissed if I had one of those super fancy $20,000 tri bikes and some jerk stole it to sell it off!

Our final stop was Bart and Marybeth’s house, a mile from the park, where we stayed Saturday night. (Pepper was with Clark’s parents, who came out to cheer Clark on the next day.) Bart is the one who got Clark into Eagleman in the first place. Their house is right on the run and bike course for the full IRONMAN in Cambridge in the fall, and last year, Bart got so hyped up watching the athletes go by his house for hours on end that he texted Clark and said they needed to do the half IROMAN in June. I will admit I thought it was just drunk texting and they’d go to work Monday and laugh about it, but here it was, the night before Eagleman, and they were really doing it!

Bart was pretty nervous. Clark, not so much. We had a couple beers from the kegerator and then went to Stoked for dinner.

pre race dinner

Pre-race dinner cheers: Beer for me and Clark, wine for Marybeth and water for Bart.

Clark and I made a quick run to Food Lion for some breakfast stuff for the morning, and then we went back to Bart and Marybeth’s house to go to bed. I was fast asleep before Clark got all his stuff laid out for the race.

Sunday, we got up at 5 a.m. If you heard a faint cheer coming from the Cambridge area at that time, it was all the Eagleman athletes reacting to the news the water temperature was wetsuit legal haha.

I dropped off Bart and Clark at the park around 6, so they could get their transition area set up, parked Clark’s truck on a side street where it wouldn’t be in the way of the run course and walked back to the park with Marybeth and a couple of their daughters.

The pro men’s swim wave had started at 6:45 a.m. Bart’s age group was the 13th swim wave, at 7:32, and Clark’s was the 15th, at 7:40. We got to the swim start area in plenty of time to see them both off.

Clark was still fine. No nerves. He is such a weirdo!

clark before start


Bart’s wave took off, and then Clark’s moved up. He pulled up his wetsuit and got his swim cap and goggles in place.

clark at swim start

Clark (on the far right) at the swim start.

clark just before swim start

Got his game face on haha.

His wave got in the water, so I ran over to shore to get a picture of when they took off. A horn blew, and Clark’s age group started swimming.

M 30-34 swim

Buncha 30- to 34-year-old dudes swimming in the Choptank.

The wind hadn’t picked up much yet that early in the morning, thankfully, so as you can see the water wasn’t choppy. I ran over to the swim course exit and waited.

swim course end

Swimmers emerging from the Choptank.

The swim was the leg Bart and Clark were both most worried about. Neither of them had done a group swim before, and they were both a little concerned about making the 1 hour, 10 minute cutoff.

They both finished with time to spare though.

Bart came out first:

bart exiting swim

On the far right.

And not far behind him was Clark, who finished in 53:33:

clark exiting swim

Second from right.

I was pretty relieved when they both finished the swim in time. I ran along the chute leading to the transition area and got a shot of Clark running off to get his bike:

clark going into transition

And then I ran to the bike out so I could see him leave for the bike leg:

clark leaving bike transition

All set!

clark leaving on bike

Taking off.

That was the last I’d see of him until he was finished the whole thing.

I hung around that area long enough to see the lead man return on the bike:

leader finishing bike

He’s barefoot because his shoes don’t just clip to the pedals, he can slip his feet in and out of them while they’re attached.

And then, seemingly 30 seconds later, take off on the run:

leader starting run

By that time, TK and her mom, who were both also volunteering at the finish line, had arrived, so we went over there to help set up.

There were a ton of volunteers there, opening boxes of medals and finisher’s hats and loading up tubs with bottled water and ice. There was also another tub, filled with hose water, parked not far past the finish line. I had never seen that before, but I soon figured out what it was for: Volunteers would douse athletes with pitcherfuls of water after finishing if they wanted, and the vast majority of them wanted it. It got hot out there yesterday, and there is no shade on the run course.

Anyway, while we were waiting for the athletes to start coming in, we got a picture:

volunteers at finish line

TK, me and her mom.

Not long after that, the first man finished, in 3:50:02:

mens winner

Cody Beals, of Canada, who was the defending winner.

He looked pretty good for having just swam, biked and run as hard as he did. Eventually, the rest of the top men started coming in. A lot of them didn’t look so good. It was soon clear why they had so many volunteers at the finish line, as a lot of the athletes needed someone to help them stand after they finished. A few even needed a wheelchair, which was why there were two of those parked not far from the line too.

A half hour later, the top woman finished in 4:23:43:

womens winner

Carrie Lester of Australia.

It was still just a trickle of runners coming across the line at that point. Eventually it started to pick up.

There was a period of time, probably amongst the people finishing in the 4:30 to 5:30 mark, where it seemed like every other finisher needed immediate assistance. It was incredible — they’d be running down the chute as hard as they could, looking strong, and then as soon as they finished, it was like someone pulled a plug and all their energy immediately drained away.

One woman finished, bent over at the waist and projectile vomited an entire stomach’s worth of Gatorade onto the mat. The volunteers just led her away, threw a couple pitchers of water on the puddle to wash it away and went about their business.

I was handing out finisher’s hats. When they got to me, finishers were either fine and walking on their own, or they already had another volunteer or two leading them to the water tub for a dousing.

The scariest moment of the day, for me, was the guy who waved off the volunteers just after the finish and looked OK on his own, made it as far as me, got a glassy look in his eyes as he grabbed the finisher’s hat from my hand and then collapsed. He was out cold for a few seconds. I had just enough time to drop all the hats and catch him before he hit his head on the pavement. A medic ran over and revived him enough to sit him up and help him into a wheelchair. That was my only close call though.

After a while, the finishers needed less help. I think they were the ones who’d backed off for the heat. I mean, a lot of them looked pretty miserable when they finished — one young girl who was also handing out hats mentioned how angry a lot of them looked haha — but the medical aid tent wasn’t so busy anymore.

I gave a hat to a guy who looked familiar. He was the husband of a Runner’s World friend who lives in New York City. I messaged her that I’d just given her husband a hat and she met me for a very brief hello before I got back to work:

me and ms ritz

Ms. Ritz and me!

For the next several hours, I handed out hats and congratulated everyone who came across the line. Some people were so happy they bear-hugged the volunteers who gave them their medals. Others looked so miserable. It really ran the full gamut of human emotion!

I didn’t get to see Clark finish his bike and leave on his run, but the tracking app reported he’d finished the bike in 3:31, 20 minutes faster than he rode the course a month ago. That meant he was on the run course and on his way to the finish line!

Eventually I got a text from Clark’s mom, who was spectating at Bart and Marybeth’s house, that Clark was about a mile from the finish. Ahhhhh!! It was almost time!

Bart finished first (with a pack of people, so I didn’t see him until he was done or I’d have taken a picture.) And then, around the corner, all alone, came Clark. I almost jumped out of my skin haha. There he was!

I took 20 pictures of him coming to and crossing the line. This was my favorite:

Clark Eagleman finish

The race clock started running an hour before Clark’s swim wave. He finished the run in 2:50:43, and his final time was 7:35:27.

Best of all, I got to put his finisher’s medal around his neck! TK took a bunch of pictures:

with clark after his finish

handing clark his medal

putting clark's medal on him

thumbs up

Giving Bart and his family, who were just outside the finisher’s chute, a thumbs up.

clark after finish

I was so happy for him! And so glad he wasn’t one of the people who collapsed and needed an IV immediately after finishing!

At that point, I’d stayed at the finish line almost 90 minutes longer than I had signed up for, so I left with Clark. We met up with Bart just outside the chute:

bart and clark post race

Eagleman finishers!

Bart and his family left to go back to the spectating party Marybeth had hosted at their house. Clark wanted to sit down for a little bit and eat some real food before we headed over there.

Eventually, he started feeling like talking about his race. He said the swim had turned out to be the easiest part. He was doing really well on the bike until he skipped an aid station, thinking the next one was closer than it was. By the time he made it to the next aid station and got some fuel, he felt so shitty he had to stop for a few minutes and sit in the shade. Then, on the run, he said he felt great from mile 4 to 9, but then he got some bad calf cramps for the final four miles.

Clark said he liked Eagleman and wants to do it again next year. He’s already talking about upgrading the bike he just bought. In his words, after seeing the kind of bike most other athletes had, his was “like bringing a donkey to the Kentucky Derby” in comparison haha.

We got Clark’s bike and gear out of transition and walked back to Bart’s house. Clark’s parents, aunt, boss and his wife were all there, and had gotten to see him run by. Pepper was there too, of course. It was a nice little turnout!

Clark and I both showered, packed up the truck, thanked Bart and Marybeth for everything and hit the road. We got dinner at The High Spot and went home.

Today, Clark took the day off work. He said he just wants to eat today haha. We’re heading to Rehoboth in a little bit so he can start replacing those calories.


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